Hooked on fishing? Everybody has a love-hate relationship with something. Perhaps it’s exercising, playing golf is a common one, or maybe cooking causes you both agony and ecstasy. For me it’s the lure of fishing. I love the idea of it – feeling a good bite, buying all the gear, scouting out locations. The only problem is, I’m terrible at it. Whatever optimism I have at the start of a days fishing, is always replaced with disappointment by days end.
When you’re bad at something there’s always a story behind what goes wrong – and even bigger stories behind rare successes. This is the first in a series of posts that chronical the gap between the fantasy and reality of my fishing life. So, for those of you with a hobby where you aim for excellence but struggle to rise above mediocrity, know you’re not alone. I hope this series of posts bring you some comfort.
I have found that when it comes to fishing people fall into one of four types.
Type 1 – Anti-fishers
These are unabashed, fishing haters. If you get into a conversation with a Type 1 stand back. Such is their passion and conviction you’re likely to be showered with spittle as they voice their objections. If you’re brave enough to ask what it is they don’t like, be prepared for a gruesome explanation involving barbed hooks, knives and suffocation. They’ll label all fishermen as barbaric yobs hell bent on destroying the marine environment. They’ll also blame them for shark attacks and the vandalism of our coastline with boat ramps and marinas.
Type 2 – Why bother?
Type 2s aren’t as offended or repulsed by fishing as Type 1s. They can just think of any number of ways to better use their time. This group readily compares fishing to watching paint dry such is their absolute lack of interest. They fail to see the fun in smelling like bait, being exposed to the elements and getting sea sick.
Members of this group are quick to point out how much easier it is to get fish from a shop. They make this point even more strongly to boat owners. They regard the phrase ‘recreational fishing’ as an oxymoron since recreation and fishing have absolutely nothing in common.
Type 3 – Beyond obsessed
This group are fishing tragics. They would miss their own daughter’s wedding if the tide, moon and wind conditions aligned to create perfect fishing opportunity. Preferring torture to revealing the GPS coordinates of their favourite fishing spots, there’s no weather to cold and no morning to early to stop these people from pursuing their passion.
Type 3s live by my uncle’s advice; ‘Stephen, a man can’t have too many fishing rods’. They have t-shirts, stubby holders and bumper stickers all promoting the fact that ‘the worst day fishing beats the best day working’. Boat owners constantly dream of buying a bigger boat to match the increasing size of their addiction. You’d give them a medal for their dedication if it wasn’t going to end up as a sinker at the end of a fishing line.
Type 4 – Hooked on Fishing
This group aspire to be Type 3s but never will be. They’re in love with the idea of a rod bending bite and fighting retrieval but reality always falls short of expectation. The big one gets away (if it ever comes at all). Knots come untied. Hooks end up in fingers and bait disappears without so much as a nibble. They love going to tackle shops and buying more equipment – sure to be the latest answer to their fishing woes. Despite enthusiastic planning, their fishing trips are always foiled by the weather, having the wrong bait or a bad tide.
Type 4s have one other defining characteristic; their excuse for going on. Ask why they keep trying and you’ll hear they just like relaxing by the water – catching something is a bonus. As a Type 2 would point out, if this is the case why not save the money spent on rods, reels, line and bait. Instead, invest in a comfortable chair and a good book, sit by the jetty or river and genuinely enjoy the day. But no. Type 4s will come home with no fish, expensive tackle lost on a snag, and a band-aid wrapped around their hook damaged finger. They’ll say it was a beautiful day even if a force 10 gale blew up. They’ll talk about how much better it would be if they just had a boat.
Of course this is my group. While being a Type 4 isn’t a source of much pride, it is the source of some good stories. In the interest of therapy, I look forward to sharing these with you.